The Rockettes outside Radio City Music Hall (2008): Opposing Lawyers Unwelcome
Photo: MARION CURTIS/ AP
Automated facial recognition systems are commonly used for law enforcement, or to control access to security areas, but usually not for revenge.
MSG Entertainment is an exception.
The US company owns and operates, among other things, Madison Square Garden and Radio City Hall in New York, two world-famous venues for music and culture.
It has also owned the MSG Networks TV channel since mid-2021.
But there is still a legal dispute about the takeover, in which several law firms are involved.
MSG Entertainment made it clear to the other side last summer that the lawyers from the opposing law firms are not wanted in its halls.
Because they wanted to prevent MSG employees from contacting the law firms beyond the intended channels, "neither you nor other lawyers from your firm may enter our halls," Reuters quoted a letter from MSG to one of the law firms in June.
The means by which the house ban is enforced and that it is by no means limited to the dispute over MSG Networks only became known when a lawyer wanted to see the show dance group The Rockettes in Radio City Music Hall with her daughter and her girl scout group.
Kelly Conlon works for Davis, Saperstein and Solomon.
In New Jersey, not in New York.
The firm represents clients who are taking legal action against a restaurant that is also owned by MSG.
However, Conlon says he has nothing to do with this or any other case involving MSG.
However, she was intercepted by security at the entrance to Radio City Music Hall and denied entry while her daughter and the rest of the Girl Scouts were allowed to see the show.
As she walked through the metal detector, she told NBC New York, "I overheard her saying something over the speakerphone about a woman with long dark hair and a gray scarf."
Then she was asked for her name and ID.
"I think you said 'our detection picked you up'".
Lawyer speaks of "collective punishment"
When asked, MSG told the broadcaster that security was the top priority and that facial recognition was just one of several technologies used for this purpose.
Sam Davis, a partner at Conlon's law firm, spoke of "collective punishment against opponents who dare to sue MSG in its multi-billion dollar network".
The action against the completely uninvolved Kelly Conlon was "absurd" and the fact that facial recognition software was used was "scary".
According to the New York Times, MSG introduced the technology itself in 2018, quietly and secretly.